I've been on a kick watching movies on demand on Netflix and had the pleasure of watching 2008 Swedish film, Let the Right One In (trailer is linked). I had heard very good things about it and it lived up to all the critical praise it received. It's a beautifully atmospheric film that falls more into the thriller/noir genre than horror. It is surprisingly understated in many ways and really finds its strengths in the films silence. I love movies that can make use of that and still have great dramatic effect. It also is a very original take on the vampire tale in that it approaches it from a truly disheartening, realistic angle. The main characters are children, the vampire is (gasp!) actually female for a change, and the "love" story is one filled with an odd kind of innocence that you don't often find in vampire movies/books/tv shows because it eliminates what makes vampires appealing - their seductive nature. It has a bit of a slow start, but by the second half of the film through the end I was really charmed. It's creepy, beautiful, heartfelt, horrifying, mysterious, and hopeful all at once. Films are rarely able to accomplish all those things, let alone a genre film, so I wholeheartedly recommend it.
I met up with a friend of mine from college that I traveled to Paris and Barcelona with in April/May. She had also spent several weeks in Morocco with her boyfriend afferward before returning to the state this summer to spend some time and home in Rochester before heading off to Grenada to teach Spanish for 10 months. She leaves next week and made a pit stop in the city. We went to Cafeteria, which is a Chelsea American nouveau restaurant that we used to go to in college. It had been maybe 2 years since I'd been, and the food was terrible. I rarely get outright bad food in the city, but I literally couldn't eat the spicy chicken dish they put in front of me. I wasn't too pleased with the mac & cheese spring rolls, either. That was a culinary experiment that should have never been undertaken.
I had dinner with a few friends at the Hudson Heights location of 107 West, an American/Asian/Mexican fusion restaurant. When I was in school, I frequently used to go the Upper West Side location and scarf down their jambalaya. Both locations have the same menu, so it was jambalaya again for me and it was yummmy! There was a also a surprise guest at my 6 person get together. A girl that I went to middle school and high school with came along, since she's a friend of one of my friends. I had seen her a little over a year ago at our 5 year high reunion, and the other week she'd just returned from Ireland working with mentally/physically/emotionally disabled indivuduals in a cimmunal facility. It was interesting chatting about her travels in the UK (she's originally from Brazil) and how drinking culture works there vs. the States, as well as how the handicapped are treated.
Was the kick off to New York Fashion Week. The inaugural evening is called Fashion Night Out and features every fashion retail location known to man offering their merchandise at discounted prices. Most of the action is in Soho and Tribeca, which is where I headed after work with a co-worker and a friend of mine from high school who got back from serving in PeaceCorp in Turkmenistan this past Spring (Yes, I know some very well traveled people). We first headed down to Bleecher St. and had dinner at Bianca, a cozy, very well priced Italian restaurant, at the suggestion of another co-worker. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone visiting the city. At dinner, I got a call from a friend of mine that just moved to Bloomington, IN for grad school that he was riding his bike to class, got clipped by a car in traffic, fell, and broke his knee and detached the ligament. He'll have to be on crutches for 10 weeks, and have physical therapy. Certainly disheartening news to hear, since he just moved there and got an apartment, and all his family is in NYC or Massachusetts. He's thinking of deferring class until Spring since he's not sure that he can get around on crutches. His commute involves two buses to get to campus.
After dinner, we headed down to Bond St. to visit Daryl K where one of my co-workers, who also is a fashion design student at FIT, interns and works as a seamstress, dyer, etc. She makes her own bags and clothing, sometimes screenprints them, and is currently working on a line of surf wear (and borrowed my wetsuit as reference). She showed us which pieces on the rack she worked on, and then we bounced out to check out the vendors in the streets, and wander in Soho, which was a madhouse. After popping into a few stores, and squeezing through the narrow streets we bailed, I went uptown with my other friend to her place, and we sat in her apartment chatted and drank tea.
My lovely designer friend/co-worker and I hit some Chelsea galleries in the afternoon for a class field trip she had to attend. We saw David La Chapelle's Michael Jackson series, as well as a lot of contemporary art, media installations, and other thought-provoking theengs. Though I do have to say that Gagosian Gallery, while it might be one of the most famous and succesful commercial galleries in the US, was kinda bullshit. I didn't see the appeal of the artist currently on display. After the gallery outing, we headed off to stroll along The High Line, which is this really cool recreational park space that was originally constructed in the 1930s to lift dangerous freight trains off Manhattan's streets. It's an elevated walkway on the far west side in the Meatpacking district, and you get spectacular views of the Hudson. It opened in 2009, but this was my first visit and I'm sorry I didn't go sooner this summer, since it's starting to get cold. After that we went to a street fair on 8th ave.
I did an overhaul of my room, since we've had a mice problem recently, and discovered all sorts of old papers and cards that people wrote me in a box. Very fun finding old stuff, especially this amazing portable pinball machine I had as a kid. Much to my surprise, it still worked (battery operated), and I've moved it to our upstairs apartment so that people that come over can play with it. I wasn't too pleased in the evening though, when I woke up and saw a mouse climbing up the louver doors that lead from my room into the kitchen. It was scaling the slats! I didn't know they had little claws that could climb like that. Ew...
It was raining like mad, but Gus and I scampered over to 9th ave after work to have a dinner at Chilli Thai. There are a jillion Thai places on 9th ave. in Hell's Kitchen and this one was nothing special. Not to mention that the place is tiny, so we couldn't help but overhear our neighbors conversations and feel like we were participating in them. Gus chose the place and I was not pleased *gives him Illyria glare*
A few weeks ago a friend of mine from DC came into the city and he invited me to a party on the Upper East Side. A friend of his was in attendence, and his friend was the bday boy throwing the shindig. It was just about the gayest party I've ever been to. Literally, nearly every guy there was gay. It was spectacular. My friend also played the piano and the bday boy sang a duet with his lovely friend on the piano. Not to mention, my girlfriend who came with spotted another girl we used to go to high school with and later in the evening (2:30am), at a bar called the Gin Mill, she met two kids that she went to middle school with. I swear, this city is so small even though it's so big. You always run into people.
Anyway, got off track, the guy that invited us to the party works for Elle and was producing the Bebe show for fashion week. He invited us to the event and I ended up RSVPing and sending the invite around to a bunch of people. Shanya, the designer/co-worker came along, Gracie (who was at the party with me), her sister Mary, my friend Paul from middle school whose a photographer and freelance's and does set production, and his stylist friend. We all looked hot and had to wait on the longest line ever to get into the show. I was really jazzed about going though because I'd never been before. The wait on line was longer than the actual show! Nonetheless, it was fun seeing the models walking the runway and critiquing the collection. Afterward, their was an after-party being held at The Griffin, but our feet hurt from all the tottering heels we were wearing, so we opted for a more low key evening at bar Flight 151 in Chelsea. This bar, which we affectionately call "Airplane Bar" has really solid food, cheap drinks, a fun decour, cool theme nights, and you can draw with crayons on the table cloth. Win! We mostly chatted about Mary going away to Madrid to teach Spanish for 10 months (yes, just like my other friend). I suspose Spain is the place to go when you're trying to figure stuff out. Thing is, Mary is also a professional Flamenco dancer. Olay!
Mary's last State side performance was at newish restaurant, Manolo Tapas. It's all Iberian/Catalonian/Barcelonan style tapas food, and it was excellent. Like, really really great, and very well priced. I had this sausage dish with quail egg and this thing they called "Spanish Sushi" that was this yumy seafood concoction. Mary danced with another female dancer and a guy, and was accompanied by a singer, guitarist, and percussionist. She also broke out the castinets. She did a great job and I always enjoy watching her perform. Her other two sisters and brother were all flamenco dancers when they were younger.
A fun anecdote - Paul, who came with me to Bebe and is the photographer, called me and said that he was bored at work and was browsing Facebook and stumbled on the Buffy fanpage. Apparently, it links to the stars personal fanpages and listed on Nic Brendon's is a meet and greet at a restaurant for 10 fans as he tries to kick start his career again. Didn't he just get out of rehab? Paul contacted the PR person and asked if Nic would be interested in having photos of the event taken or a shoot of himself, and she said yes! He's getting details now. Just sort of cool because Paul and I used to watch Buffy together in middle school. Hee!